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Direction to Land Surveyors No. 16 (Updated June 15, 2020)

This Direction to British Columbia Land Surveyors supersedes the Direction on this subject posted on the LTSA website dated May 24, 2018.  The updates have been made to reflect the introduction of web filing.

This Direction provides information on the application for survey instructions or parcel designations and provides information on the process for submitting electronic plans of Crown land prepared pursuant to the Land Title Act and Land Act to the Surveyor General.

Background

As stated in PDF icon Circular Letter 475A, prior to undertaking any survey of Crown land pursuant to the Land Title Act or the Land Act, other than a statutory right of way, an application must be made to the Surveyor General for survey instructions, and additionally, in the case of surveys under the Land Act, for a unique parcel designation.

Previous practice did not require an application for survey instructions for Land Title Act surveys of Crown land. However, it has become apparent that issuing instructions for surveys conducted pursuant to the Land Title Act will have a number of benefits. These include:

1. Ensuring that the full extent of the survey and plan requirements are understood;

As part of the issuance of survey instructions and parcel designations, Surveyor General Operations staff frequently communicate with the Province to clarify the Province's land use plans that are behind offers to sell and offers to lease Crown land. Often this includes determination of whether the Province wants to establish public road or highway.

2. Ensuring that the appropriate parts of the Survey Rules are applied to the survey and plan(s);

Surveyor General Operations staff can answer questions about which parts of the Survey Rules are applicable for particular surveys, including for the establishment of public road or highway.

3. Enabling Surveyor General Operations staff the opportunity to determine if certificates of title, portions of registered plans or primary parcels can be cancelled;

It is in the public interest to keep the survey fabric as clear and orderly as possible. The Surveyor General has the ability to cancel certificates of title under Section 103 of the Land Act, the ability to cancel whole plans or parts of plans pursuant to Section 136 of the Land Title Act, and to cancel primary parcels pursuant to Section 75 of the Land Act. Cancelling titles, plans and primary parcels, which are no longer required, cleans up the fabric and can result in more efficient surveys for the land surveyor.

4. Enabling Surveyor General Operations staff to update government's Crown Land Registry appropriately;

The Province relies on the Surveyor General to update the Crown Land Registry each time Crown land is surveyed. The Surveyor General must provide certain information to the Province each time a survey of Crown land is completed as part of the Province's Crown land disposition process.

Surveys of Crown land can be requested by a person who has received an offer from the government to purchase or acquire an interest in Crown land and surveys can be requested by a government ministry.

The majority of plans prepared over Crown land are statutory right of way plans. These plans can include surveyed or unsurveyed Crown land, and titled or untitled Crown land.

For other forms of tenure, posting plans, explanatory plans, reference plans and subdivision plans prepared pursuant to the Land Title Act, or survey plans prepared pursuant to the Land Act, are often necessary to meet the conditions of an offer the Province has made.

In some circumstances, the Province will directly contract with a land surveyor to conduct surveys over Crown land. Commonly, these contracts are for the establishment of highway pursuant to the Transportation Act or public road pursuant to the Land Act.

All plans must be submitted to the Surveyor General through the Electronic Filing System (EFS). EFS is accessed via a myLTSA Enterprise account. With the introduction of Web Filing as of June 15, 2020, the creation of application forms has been integrated into the electronic filing process in myLTSA and no longer uses downloaded PDF form templates and Adobe Acrobat to complete the forms. Users now input application information directly online, using Web Filing forms on myLTSA. Once information is entered and validated, the appropriate final PDF Form is generated. These PDF Forms can then either be sent to EFS directly or downloaded and then added to the application submission package, and final submission of application packages occurs through the usual EFS process.

Application for Survey Instructions and Parcel Designations

Prior to undertaking any survey of Crown land pursuant to the Land Title Act or the Land Act, other than a statutory right of way, an application must be made to the Surveyor General for survey instructions and, in the case of surveys under the Land Act, for a unique parcel designation.

An application for survey instructions or parcel designation can be made by completing the Web Filing form, setting the Application or Plan Type dropdown list to “  Parcel Designation / Survey Instructions” and uploading supporting information to Surveyor General Operations through web filing.

The following information must be included in the package submission:

  1. A completed Application for Parcel Designation and/or Survey Instructions web filing form;
  2. A copy of the accepted offer of grant or lease from a Crown ministry and the proposed survey sketch attached to the offer. If a survey is being conducted at the request of a provincial government ministry, documentation from the ministry requesting the survey (such as a signed contract) is required;
  3. Any additional information that may assist with issuance of survey instructions or creation of the parcel designation.

The application will be reviewed by Surveyor General Operations staff and the applicant will be provided with an email containing specific survey instructions and unique parcel descriptions and associated Parcel Identification Numbers (PIN), as appropriate. There is no fee associated with this application.

Submission of Plans Prepared under the Land Title Act

Process Common to All Plan Types

Land Title Act plans of Crown land are submitted to the Surveyor General as part of a package. Packages are submitted through EFS, and application forms are now created in Web Filing and can be sent directly to EFS packages or manually downloaded from web filing and then re-uploaded to EFS. Depending on the specific plan, the Web Filing form’s Application or Plan Type dropdown list must be populated with the corresponding plan submission. For Land Title Act plans of Crown land, these include:

  • LTA SRW Plan
  • LTA SRW OGC Plan
  • LTA Plan
  • Section 80 Land Act Plan
  • MLPH Section 9(1) Highway or Forest Road Plan

The Surveyor General Practice Guide  contains instructions for Web Filing.

If a survey was conducted as a result of a direct contract with a Provincial Crown ministry, this must be indicated in the "Explanatory Notes" field on the Web Filing form. In these instances, the "This is a fee-exempt BC government application" checkbox on the Web Filing form should be checked because surveys conducted under contract with provincial ministries are exempt from survey plan submission fees.

The plan and affixed Survey Plan Certificate (SPC) form, and any required supporting documentation (as detailed below), are packaged with the Web Filing form and submitted to the Surveyor General through EFS.

If Surveyor General Operations staff seek amendments to the survey plan, the applicant will be notified of the required change(s) by email. The revised survey plan must be attached to a new SPC form and electronically signed in the usual manner. The plan and SPC form are packaged with the relevant application form generated through Web Filing and submitted to the Surveyor General through EFS.

Once Surveyor General Operations has completed the review of the plan and it is found to be acceptable, the land surveyor will be notified by email.

TIP

If Surveyor General Operations requests additional information, the application form will need to be re-submitted with that additional information. Updates to the application form are made through Web Filing by opening the existing Web Filing package and making edits to it. The Web Filing form should be updated with the addition of notes in the "Explanatory Notes" field to explain what new information is contained in the subsequent submission. The remainder of the information contained upon the form must remain unaltered from the original submission. When edits are complete, continue to the “Web Filing Form” page where a new Web Filing PDF form is generated.

Once a new Web Filing PDF form is generated through the Web Filing process, it will need to be downloaded (by clicking the Download button below the Web Filing Form preview) and manually attached to the related EFS package. The “Prepare Submission” button should not be clicked as it will result in creating a new EFS package, as opposed to amending the existing package. For detailed instructions on re-submitting an application, see Submit Additional Information or a Plan Alteration to the Surveyor General.

Note that PDF application forms generated through Web Filing cannot be edited in Adobe Acrobat – the content needs to be edited within the Web Filing portal and a new PDF needs to be generated. 

Obtaining Owner Consent for Plans of Titled Crown Land

Where a subdivision plan or reference plan is of land that is titled to the provincial government, an official from the Province, generally from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (MFLNRORD) must sign the DSPL form as owner, on behalf of the government.

Designated staff at MFLNRORD have signing authority where title to the land is in the name of the Crown, in the name of MFLNRORD, or is in the name of a former ministry, the responsibilities of which now rest with MFLNRORD.

MFLNRORD officials do not need to sign DSPL forms related to statutory right of way plans or posting plans.

A list of MFLNRORD offices and contact information is available in Schedule A. If you are preparing a subdivision or reference plan of land titled to another government ministry, please contact us for information regarding authorized signatories.

Payment of Surveyor General Operations Fees

Fees are withdrawn from the Submitter's myLTSA Enterprise deposit account when the Web Filing form is submitted through myLTSA. The fees for all submission types are listed on the LTSA website, on the Fees page.

Specific Requirements by Plan Type

Statutory Right of Way Plans

If the SRW plan is for oil and gas purposes, the Surveyor General submission is to include:

  • A completed Web Filing application, with "LTA SRW OGC Plan" selected as the Application/Plan type in the Web Filing form’s Application or Plan Type dropdown list;
  • An image of the Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) letter stating that the plan complies with the application area approved by them; and
  • A digitally-signed SPC form and affixed survey plan image.

If the SRW plan is not for oil and gas purposes, the Surveyor General submission is to include:

  • A completed Web Filing application, with "LTA SRW Plan" selected as the Application/Plan type in the Web Filing form’s Application or Plan Type dropdown list;
  • A copy of the offer for the SRW from MFLNRORD, including the sketch plan and the page of the offer that has been signed by the applicant; or
  • If the SRW has been prepared at the direction of a government agency a copy of a letter or other document requesting and authorizing the survey needs to be included in the returns; and
  • A digitally-signed SPC form and affixed survey plan image.

For statutory right of way plans, Surveyor General staff will prepare the DSPL form and submit these plans for land title registration.

Subdivision, Reference and Posting Plans

You must first obtain survey instructions, as described above.

The following information is to be included in the package submission to the Surveyor General:

  • A completed Web Filing application, with "LTA Plan" selected as the Application/Plan type in the Web Filing form’s Application or Plan Type dropdown list;
  • A digitally-signed SPC form and affixed survey plan image.

For subdivision, reference and posting plans, the land surveyor or their client is ultimately responsible for preparing an Application to Deposit Plan at Land Title Office (DSPL) form and for submitting the plan for deposit in the Land Title Register. However, before obtaining necessary consents and approvals on the DSPL form, Surveyor General staff must first review and approve the plan. Although it is not necessary to submit a DSPL form to Surveyor General Operations as part of the submission package, staff will review the form if submitted.

Once the plan has been reviewed by Surveyor General Operations staff and it is found to be acceptable, the land surveyor will be notified of approval by email.

The land surveyor or their client can now gather the necessary consents and approvals on the DSPL form and submit the plan for land title registration. A copy of the email from the Surveyor General indicating approval of the plan must be provided to the authorized representative of the Province signing as owner.

There are occasions when a land surveyor will have prepared a posting plan that shows new posts set at corners of a titled, Crown-owned parcel when no associated offer was made by MFLNRORD. In these situations, the reason for the survey should be noted on the application (in the Explanatory Notes field) and fees for the plan submission to Surveyor General Operations are not required. The checkbox with the wording “This is a fee-exempt BC government application” should be checked.

Section 80 Land Act

The Surveyor General has been authorized by the Minister to dispose of Crown land for road purposes under Section 80 of the Land Act.

Before the Surveyor General can approve a plan establishing public road over Crown land, authorization to establish a road must be obtained from MFLNRORD. Please note that Section 80 establishes public road and not highway.

The following information is to be included in the package submission to the Surveyor General:

  • A completed Web Filing application, with "Section 80 Land Act Plan" selected as the Application/Plan type in the Web Filing form’s Application or Plan Type dropdown list;
  • A DSPL form that has been completed as much as possible. However, Section 1 (the Application section) must not be completed nor should the form be electronically signed. The DSPL must contain the appropriate signature block pursuant to Section 80 of the Land Act;
  • A copy of the authorization to establish a public road over untitled Crown land from MFLNRORD;
  • A digitally-signed SPC form and affixed survey plan image.

Once the certificate for the signature of the Surveyor General has been signed, it will be scanned and emailed back to the applicant, at which point other consents and approvals can be obtained. The certificate bearing the hardcopy signature will be mailed to the applicant.

Section 9(1) of the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing Act

The Surveyor General has been authorized by the Minister to dispose of Crown land under Section 9(1) of the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing Act.

If a highway is being established on a Land Title Act plan and the road crosses a small Crown-owned creek, the Surveyor General may sign a certificate pursuant to Section 9(1) establishing public road over the creek. Please note that Section 9(1) establishes public road and not highway.

There is no formal application process for Section 9(1). When Surveyor General Operations receives a plan that contains a public road dedication under Section 9(1), staff will contact a regional representative of MFLNRORD to seek comments. If the comments are favourable, the Surveyor General will provide consent to the establishment.

Land surveyors are encouraged to submit a request for preliminary conditional approval by email to surveyor.general@ltsa.ca prior to completing the final plan.

The following information is to be included in the package submission to the Surveyor General:

  • A completed Web Filing application, with "MLPH Section 9(1) Highway or Forest Rd Plan" selected as the Application/Plan type in the Web Filing form’s Application or Plan Type dropdown list;
  • A DSPL form that has been completed as much as possible. However, Section 1 (the Application section) must not be completed nor should the form be electronically signed. The DSPL must contain the appropriate signature block pursuant to Section 9(1) of the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing Act;
  • A digitally-signed SPC form and affixed survey plan image.

Once the certificate for the signature of the Surveyor General has been signed, it will be scanned and emailed back to the applicant, at which point other consents and approvals can be obtained. The certificate bearing the hardcopy signature will be mailed to the applicant.

Submission of Plans Prepared Under the Land Act

You must first obtain a parcel designation, as described above.

Once the survey is completed, the resultant plan image must be affixed to the Survey Plan Submission to Surveyor General (CLRS) form, electronically signed, and submitted to the Surveyor General through EFS.

Note that CLRS forms are not currently included in Web Filing, and are to be filled out in the traditional method – by downloading the PDF form template and filling it out with Adobe Acrobat.

If Surveyor General Operations staff seek amendments to the survey plan, the applicant will be notified of the required changes by email. The revised survey plan can be attached to the original unsigned CLRS form, the form electronically signed, and then re-submitted through EFS.

If the survey was conducted as the result of a direct contract with a provincial Crown ministry, this must be indicated in the "Explanatory Notes" field on the CLRS form. In these instances, the "Deduct LTSA Fees" checkbox on the form should be unchecked because surveys conducted under contract with provincial ministries are exempt from survey plan submission fees.

Once the plan is confirmed by the Surveyor General, it will be filed in the Crown Land Registry and the applicant will be notified of the plan approval by email.

TIP

The applicant is encouraged to save a completed but unsigned copy of the CLRS form that they have prepared for specific plan submissions. If Surveyor General staff request the submission of additional information, the CLRS form will need to be re-submitted with this additional information. The CLRS form will have to be updated with the addition of notes in the "Explanatory Notes" field to explain what new information is contained in the subsequent submission. The remainder of the information contained upon the form must remain unaltered from the original submission.

For further assistance on any of these matters, please call the LTSA Customer Service Centre at 604-630-9630 in the Metro Vancouver area, or 1-877-577-5872 if calling from elsewhere in BC, Canada and the United States.

Dave Swaile, BCLS, CLS

Senior Deputy Surveyor General